Hendon Green & Gold 20 - Peter Deadman

Greensnet Editor
Mon 25 May 2015, 09:46

Peter Deadman, to many experts, was the finest defender ever to play for Hendon. His record suggests that he had few peers amongst his contemporaries which 45 England amateur international caps shows. He was a fantastic reader of the game, predominantly left-footed, but a great tackler and very good passer.

His dedication to Hendon can best be shown by an event in April 1974. Peter received a call-up to play for the England Non-League team for a tournament at the start of May, but turned them down because the Greens were still in the running for the league championship. He would also have been the only player to be simultaneously an international at both non-league and amateur levels.

Peter joined West Ham United as a schoolboy, but his education took priority. He went to Loughborough University, where his football team-mates included John Evans and Dario Gradi. He played for West Ham United during a work placement year, for the 'A' team, alongside, amongst others, Frank Lampard Sr and Harry Redknapp. In his final year at Loughborough, Peter captained British Universities then, having completed his chemistry degree, returned to London and signed for Barking, whose player-coach was John Evans.

When Evans moved to Hendon in 1970, Peter followed him and made his debut in a shock 3-2 opening day home defeat to Woking. Peter scored his first Hendon goal in October, in a 4-1 League win at Hitchin Town, and scored twice in cup-ties, as Hendon finished runners-up in the Middlesex Senior Cup and sixth in the League.

Evans strengthened the Hendon team significantly for the 1971-72 season and it paid off handsomely as Hendon spent the next three seasons as arguably the strongest team in amateur football. Peter was a key player in some outstanding achievements. In the Amateur Cup semi-final, against Wycombe Wanderers at Brentford's Griffin Park, Peter scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory that silenced the huge travelling support from Buckinghamshire. It was a magnificent long-range strike, which as Peter said came because, "We were so angry at having conceded an equaliser." In the 1972 Final against Enfield at Wembley, Peter was superb as Hendon were forced to defend for much of the game, but still won 2-0.

In the following season, Hendon won the Barassi Cup, dubbed the European Amateur Championship, although only the Italian and English Amateur cup-winners played. But it was in the Isthmian League that the Greens rewrote the record books, going 38 league games without defeat and storming to the title by a massive 18 points. The 1973-74 season was famous for that FA Cup run, which started with a draw against Barnet in the last qualifying round. The replay and first (Leytonstone at home) and second round (Merthyr Tydfil away) ties were negotiated with 3-0 wins before Hendon were drawn against Newcastle United. The Greens forced a 1-1 draw at St James' Park before succumbing 4-0 in the replay. There was no last-season Amateur Cup glory as Leatherhead won a third-round tie. More damagingly, however, the Greens needed nine matches to complete those three rounds and ended up with massive fixture congestion. This ultimately cost Hendon the title, losing by two points to Wycombe. Peter, however, was an ever-present in the League and finished the season with 67 appearances.

There was an exodus from Claremont Road in the summer of 1974 and Peter joined Ilford, managed by John Evans. He spent two seasons at Lynn Road before returning to Hendon, but the team was nothing like the powerhouse it had been half a decade earlier. He picked up a League Cup winners' medal and a number of Middlesex cup ones, but there were no titles and only occasional FA Cup competition proper appearances. On 18 March 1978, Peter made his only substitute appearance for Hendon, to go with 551 starts.

It all ended very suddenly for Peter at Hendon. The exit from the 1981-82 FA Trophy saw an immediate cut in the playing budget. First to go were senior non-contract players, Deadman, Peter Anderson and Paul Currie and the high-priced Trevor Dark, Bobby Gough and Martin Sperrin. Peter went to play at Dagenham for Ted Hardy, but found the Conference – then called the Alliance Premier League – travelling too much, then Grays Athletic, before retiring aged 42. In 1995-96, when his son John played for half a season at Claremont Road, Peter came to watch a few times, but had no other involvement in football. His main sporting activity is now cross-country running, but he did attend the launch of the Hendon FC book in November 2008.

Joined Hendon: Summer 1970 and summer 1976, Left Hendon: Summer 1974 and February 1982

Appearances: 552 (551 starts, 1 substitute), Goals: 15

Medals won: Isthmian League 1972–73, FA Amateur Cup: 1971–72, Barassi Cup: 1972–73, Isthmian League Cup: 1976–77, Middlesex Senior Cup: 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, Middlesex Charity Cup: 1976–77, 1978–79